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e-Learning in an EFL Academic Writing Class: An Online Forum Example. By Aranya Srijongjai Department of Western Languages Faculty of Humanities, Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand. Outline. Purpose Introduction Theoretical Framework Online Forum Activities Outcomes Lessons Learned

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e-Learning in an EFL Academic Writing Class: An Online Forum Example

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e-Learning in an EFL Academic

Writing Class: An Online Forum Example

By Aranya Srijongjai

Department of Western Languages

Faculty of Humanities, Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand


Outline

  • Purpose

  • Introduction

  • Theoretical Framework

  • Online Forum Activities

  • Outcomes

  • Lessons Learned

  • Conclusion

  • Q & A


Purpose

To share a one semester experience using an online forum to integrate reading into an academic writing class


Introduction

Axelrod & Cooper (2002)

Writing is one of the survival skills required of university students. It can contribute to their academic achievement as well as their work life.


Introduction

  • To help students develop their writing skill, many teachers encourage their students to read.

  • Linking reading activities effectively in a writing class is a challenge for EFL teachers.


Introduction

  • EN395 Reading and Writing Process of English I

  • A compulsory major course for the B.Ed. Program in English at Srinakharinwirot University

  • 19 third-year students


Introduction

Course Objective:

To help students develop their skills in academic writing while integrating reading into the writing process


Introduction

  • ATutor 1.6.3

  • Online forum

  • The supplementary part of the classroom-based course


Theoretical Framework

The objective of the online forum:

To have students practice critical thinking by analyzing the purpose, audience and organization of the reading texts, so as to help them better understand the elements of writing and apply what they have learned in their writing


Theoretical Framework

Tompkins (2003)

“There are practical benefits of connecting reading and writing. Reading contributes to students’ writing development, and writing contributes to students’ reading development” (p. 60).


Theoretical Framework

Students’ awareness of purposes, audience and organization of the reading texts is also important for writing.


Theoretical Framework

Barnes (2000)

Students gain better outcomes when they write with the consideration of a purpose and an audience.

Axelrod and Cooper (2002)

“Students who learn to write for different readers and purposes do well in courses throughout the curriculum” (p. 3).


Theoretical Framework

Cali and Bowen (2003)

Organization is one feature of effective writing. As different genres are for different purposes and audiences, they need different text structures.


Theoretical Framework

  • Chan and Yap (2008)

  • Models of online forums in English language learning websites:

    • ‘ask-the-expert’ forum

    • student community forum

    • serious discussion forum

    • creative writing forum


Theoretical Framework

The serious discussion forum model was selected for the course since it closely matched the online forum’s objective.


Online Forum Activities

1) Reading articles

2) Student roles

3) Instructor roles

4) Evaluation


1) Reading articles

Three reading articles were selected and distributed to students in the three genres taught in class: narrative, persuasive and opinion.


1) Reading articles

  • “Mom, You Never Told Me…”

  • by Jeffrey L. Aran (as cited in Scull, 1987, pp. 7-8)

  • “Stopping Youth Violence: An Inside Job” by Fawcett and Sandberg (1996: pp. 288-289)

  • “Uniformed Students, Uniform Minds: Why Uniforms Have No Place in a University”

  • by Patrick Jory (2006)


2) Student roles

  • Students were required to read the articles outside class and answer questions posted on the ATutor online forum.

  • Students’ opinions were solicited, as they enhanced the students’ development of ideas.


2) Student roles

Table 1: Examples of questions in the ATutor online forum


3) Instructor roles

  • Distribute the reading materials

  • Provide backgrounds to reading materials

  • Offer ideas to rouse students’ interest in the reading topics

  • Post the questions in the forum’s threaded discussions

  • Monitor the ATutor online forum activities

  • Guide the students on reading when necessary


4) Evaluation

Student performance was evaluated in two ways.

  • Contributions to the ATutor online forum were marked as a part of their participation score.

  • One part of the final exam was based on the three reading articles designed to test their critical thinking on the purpose, audience and organization of the texts.


4) Evaluation

Table 2: Examples of questions of the final exam


Outcomes

  • The students’ participation in the ATutor online forum was constant and attentive.

  • Students also monitored one another in the forum.


Outcomes

  • Most students wrote longer answer and tried to back up their answers with supporting details.

  • The results of the final exam showed that every student was aware of the purpose, audience and organization of the texts.


Online course page


ATutor online forum


Examples of students’ responses

Example 1


Examples of students’ responses

Example 2


Outcomes

Example 3


Outcomes

Example 4


Outcomes

Example 5


Outcomes

Example 6


Lessons Learned

  • The issue of plagiarism

  • Students’ poor reading skills

  • Critical thinking


Conclusion

  • Online forums can be used effectively to integrate reading into academic writing courses.


Conclusion

  • The success of the ATutor online forum depends on:

    • - the purpose of the forum

    • - the materials used

    • - the model applied


Conclusion

de Vry and Brown (2000)

The success of threaded discussions can be achieved in three ways:

1) they must be weaved to emphasize discussion on narrow topics,

2) they must attentively overseen by an instructor, and

3) they must be graded.


Conclusion

  • Teachers of writing should consider an online forum as one of their choices for integrating reading activities into their writing courses.


Q & A


Thank you


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